Pope Francis in Laudato Sí praises indigenous people’s values. The Mohawks had many virtues to recommend them: Not only harmony with nature, but harmony with the nature of things — they had no desire to redefine marriage away from its primary purpose of parenthood, for instance.
4. She was a living witness to Jesus.
“Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer and to daily Mass,” said Benedict. “Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.”
The simple life of Kateri, at first in her village and later in Montreal, shows that the first step to take in the New Evangelization is personal conversion.
Kateri was known for her gentleness, kindness, and good humor. Her favorite place was in front of the Blessed Sacrament. She was also known for her harsh penances — whipping herself in reparation for sins and to build self-discipline (if that sounds harsh to us, it shouldn’t).
When Kateri died on Wednesday of Holy Week in 1680, her last words were Iesos konoronkwa — “Jesus, I love you.”
Let us pray this July 14 that her last words will be the first words in the renewal of faith in America.
Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.